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November 11, 2019
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Fire management assistance granted Firefighters called to the front Giving students added support School district seeks new superintendent Coming together to have fun and help others So. Co. is here to connect with you RP voters overwhelmingly renew open space protections Immigration appointments rescheduled Family Justice Center Sonoma County receives grant awards State Fund offers extended credit to policyholders Fire - Community - Businesses Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes SMART will run limited service Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening Take one, leave one – New free library in Cotati Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Teen arrested for shooting at RP RP votes to restrict fireworks CANCELLATION Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Superintendent search begins Cotati Council moves ahead Planning Commission approves hotel The Salvation Army expands response to Kincade Fire Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County Cotati memorializes victims Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area Cotati honors and appreciates SoCo post offices forced to close Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact School district balances budget More high density in Rohnert Park Put down your phone April is distracted driving awareness month SSU Police make arrest in sexual assault case CRPUSD district’s good news in May When the power is off, treat signals as stop signs The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU Equestrian looks to go national Brace yourself for mosquitos Station Avenue project An offer has been made and accepted on Rohnert Park’s corporate yard SMART to offer free rides... SOMO Village overrun by CHP party Stay indoors to reduce smoke inhalation Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Mayors of So Co write angry letter Dodd’s college student food bill passes Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon Latino Alliance promotes first festival Consumer alert on price gouging Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims Fixing Cotati’s roads RP driver identified Burglary suspect found with firearms Special education funding complicated Structure fire displaces family State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires  RP decides on west side Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track May CalFresh month celebration Keeping California history alive Voters urged to return vote by mail ballots early Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New Executive Director at SSU RP man sentenced to prison 23 years for robbery Adolescent birth rate continues to decline Campaign targets vaping-related illness New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Name correction: Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Former Rancho student convicted A New Experience – Coffee with the Congressman Sonoma County 2020 campaign headquarters opening Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship Illegal robocalls and spoofing Farmers’ Market party on the plaza RP Foundation to reinstate Small Grants Program Reported sexually transmitted diseases reach epidemic level Early voting center opens RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Music alive in Cotati Sept. is suicide prevention month Three arrested; stolen items recovered Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month Paper Delivery Update The USCIS application support center in Santa Rosa closed Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Elder abuse rising in So Co U10 Cal Ripken champions say Aloha New start at school board meeting In memory of Greg Beedon City of Cotati urges governor to sign affordable housing bill First Annual Latino Festival draws a large crowd USCIS updates fee waiver requirements Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season Cotati’s code of conduct School board follows its policy Free school supplies RPDPS receives grant to fight alcohol-related crime Winners of “Discovered: Emerging artists of Sonoma County” Cotati Oktoberfest on the horizon Carrying another on a recovery path Ca. Senate Fellows Program application period opens R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant RP moves to curb false alarms Doggone hot days are here! Warnings weren’t enough! ‘Stuff the van’ with school supplies Wake up to social crisis Cannabis cultivation and more projects Downtown RP infrastructure project Ca. Dept. of Public Health issues Public Health advisory 'Team Trevor' A football team with a heart March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Technology High School construction on schedule Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Rohnert Park City Council all about safety Accordion Festival San Francisco Mime Troupe to perform in Cotati Rep. Thompson speaks at SSU on climate change RP to vote on protecting open space and preventing sprawl Pedestrian jumps into path of SMART Train RP Council talks about fast trains and lawsuits Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SSU named one of the best universities Verity is hiring to work with survivors RP City Council, not business as usual A young child making a big difference Cotati’s first homicide in 24 years Veterans’ housing to open in 2020 RPPS encourages public to drive sober Issues and recognition but no council meeting RCHS Mascot at Welcome Back Rally Raising awareness on the dangers of SIDS King and Queen SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Students almost ready for kindergarten Would you make a great foster parent? Grand Jury recommends improvements for So. Co. Water City of Cotati switches to 100% renewable electricity I’m ready, bring ‘em on! Tech High School celebrates 20 years PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program accepting applications for aid Learn to become a naturalist Police and housing topics discussed at Council Coursey on the campaign trail Reckless driver resists arrests, with help from K-9 Max Cardinals rout Cougars SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. Happenings at Cotati City Council Trades Intro Program (TIP) leads to career RP City Council: from safety to striping Girls explore STEM possibilities at Tinker Academy Spring Lake Water Bark kickoff Sozo Student Center opens Credo ladies in Trashion show Cougars win behind roaring defensive performance Another long evening at Cotati City council How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary New fire station gets final direction Undercover operation identifies prostitution at local massage parlors Red flags fly at all fire stations during “Red Flag” warnings L J principal promises open door policy DUI driver arrested after collision on RP Exp Contact information needed from about 150,000 PG&E customers A satisfied smile Cotati Council makes it short Cotati is open to new county wide voting system RP Improvements Update week of October 21st Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Cotati fills Planning Commission The long summer grinds Alert resident foiled attempted burglary of neighbor’s home All about the roads Third DUI driver arrested in RP in three days Santa Rosa doctor overprescribing New leadership delivers new start at school board meeting Man takes own life Bound for a peaceful resting place After sluggish start, Cougars explode Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life School district set to begin new year Wrong way bicyclist rides into path of SMART train City, county reach agreement with Homeless Advocates Our words are not enough: Educators call for action First day of school and new friends PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program distributes first checks to victims  Credo Kaplan-Kinsey semi-finalist Focusing on finances... Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery Rohnert Park residents awarded law degrees School Year 2019-2020 for free and reduced-price meals Cattle drive comes to SR Man dies in custody Home-based learning on the rise Home invasion robbery, suspects still at large Travis Jenkins Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist Years to launch SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Joint Legislative Wine Committee to meet at SSU Ca. Dept. of Justice announces ammunition regulations Fatal bicycle vs. vehicle collision RPPS investigating sexual assault A slow and painful wait for a downtown RP improvement updates RP road improvements update Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases DMV offices will close for half day Social Security – Care and Beware Urban growth boundary benefits RP Council looks at serious close-to-home issues Fight the flu... get immunized SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Reckless vehicle ends in DUI arrest Do you know the relationship between low impact development and water quality? So. Co. Behavioral Health and Health Services in the county jail Cotati City Council of Aug. 13 USCIS clarifies special immigrant juvenile classification to victims of abuse Water Conservation Car washes and water waste Equifax provides $600 million in consumer restitution Cotati sees its first homicide in 24 years New Column Things to know about PG&E’s Public Safety power shutoff Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Stray sways the crowd Showing off rope tricks Sonoma County Fair reviews safety protocols Gun violence in the U.S. and globally Beautifying Magnolia Park Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open Skating during Cotati Kids Day parade Watenpaugh returns to lead CRPUSD Join CASA of So. Co.’s commitment to helping victims of child abuse Safety and power outages RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community Vehicle crashes into house Call to action in Ca. Passenger killed fleeing crash Help with citizenship It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Suicide leading cause of death in youths Impersonating pharmacists Pesticide residue consumed by infants and children Ayuda con ciudadanía Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Correction to the July 26 issue SSU student receives prestigious CSU Trustees’ Award RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase Cotati City Council recommends several adoptions Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows Vote by mail ballots now available for the Nov. 5, consolidated elections Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP New safety power shutoff zip code alerts RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program The California Highway Patrol implements a regional effort to save lives

The evacuation through her eyes

  • Red Cross worker Nicole Massey and son ready for Halloween festivities. Photo credit: Virginia Hart | American Red Cross

By: Cassandra May Albaugh
November 8, 2019

The Kincade Fire is not yet a memory. Clean-up continues. Repopulation and reentry are underway. Insurance claims will be filed. The fire isn’t out although it is largely contained. The typical stories focused on first responders, the evacuees, or the fire and the damage it caused have been written and printed. The opinion pieces on the causes, the heroes, the villains are on the way. The pictures of the politicians visiting the shelters, the volunteers, famous or not, feeding the hungry and the shelters have been circulated. This story is not those. This story is about the event through the eyes of a volunteer who was a small part of this whole story.

The fire started on John Kincade Road northeast of Geyserville on Oct. 23. But her story started back in Oct. of 2017 during the Tubbs Fire. She is a wife and a working mother. She had a son who because his college was closed, decided to volunteer at the fairgrounds Shelter during that wildfire event. Each day she would check on him as any mother would do. She’d asked how he was doing. Did he need to come home for a meal, a shower, or some sleep? Each time his response was “I’m fine.”

On the fourth day, she went after work to make sure he was really doing okay. He was, but since she was there, she stayed and pitched in too. She hasn’t looked back.

After the immediacy of that event, she chose to sign up and register with the Red Cross as a regular volunteer. She started with training offered at the Santa Rosa Junior College for Event-Based Volunteers (EBV) working in the shelters. Later, she took on-line classes, got a background check and took some courses at the Disaster Training Institute located at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Ca. Those voluntary courses were for registered volunteers looking for more training, wanting to go beyond being an EBV. Once in the system she had an intake interview where she could sign up in specific job areas, which initially for her was logistics, which built on her existing work skill sets. That’s when she became a regular volunteer. This means when there isn’t a disaster response, she helps in tasks like inventory, pre-planning, vehicle maintenance, or obtaining agreements for building use in case of a disaster. She has since earned designations for sheltering, feeding, emergency driving, and disaster assessment.

So, when this Kincade event started she was ready, right? Yes and no. She was recovering from an illness so she couldn’t report immediately to take shifts. By Sat. she was well enough to do emergency driving and did so. Because the headquarters for the Red Cross Headquarters in Santa Rosa was in a mandatory evacuation zone, it had to be relocated. She was one of the volunteers that moved the vehicles to the relocated headquarters. Then on Sun., she was ready and able to pull her first 12-hour shift at the shelters that were located in Santa Rosa at the Veterans Building and at the Grace Pavilion within the fairgrounds.

Her duties included registering evacuees and assessing their needs as they came to the shelter. Making sure they had a comfort kit. Providing information about the facilities, mealtimes, sharing fire updates, helping to do intake for other event-based volunteers. For example, one young 20-year-old wanted to help. Event-based volunteers are often limited in assignments because they haven’t been vetted, their skills are unknown, no background check completed. So, it can be a challenge matching their eagerness to a meaningful contribution. In this case, the young man was asked to go around the shelter, collect the partially consume plastic bottles of water and properly dispose of them. Doing so was about safety and hygiene as well as cleanliness. He was later seen with a broom in hand sweeping the floor, happily contributing to the effort to make this shelter safe and comfortable for the evacuees.

The shift was officially over at 7 p.m. but there was always more to do. So, she actually didn’t depart until almost two hours later. If she didn’t have to work the next day, it’s likely it would have been even later.  She lives in a section of Rohnert Park that had power, so she was able to go home, take a shower and get some sleep. On Mon., she went to the office which was still open but operating with short staff as other employees had been evacuated over the weekend. She was able to leave work a couple of hours early and go back on duty. This time she was at the headquarters which had been relocated once more and was now located at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Petaluma, Ca. on Webster St. 

For this shift she was working on logistics to include the movement and ordering of supplies. She was also ensuring registration of contracts for rental vehicles and delegating their use once volunteers checked into the headquarters after flying in from other cities and states. Also, for that reason, more staff shelter space was needed.  Off she went, headed north to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Country Club Dr. in Rohnert Park.  She stopped along the way at the FoodMax in Rohnert Park to pick-up snacks such as apples and yogurt, milk and pastries, coffee and fixings. This way the staff could have something to eat and drink before going on shift; or when coming off shift. She also reached out the president of the Church’s Relief Society with a request to help organize volunteers for food services at the church for the following morning. Then home, shower and sleep.

Tuesday, was another short day at work; then back to continue supporting the shelters and volunteers. Rinse and repeat. It’s all a blur. What did she do on this day or that day? Fragments come and go. “Yes, on this day we did, no wait – that was the day before.” “Thurs. was Halloween, so on Wed. I know I relieved another volunteer who had been going almost 24 hours already.”  She said her co-worker was going to drive candy for the kids to enjoy at the shelters in Santa Rosa and Petaluma. She volunteered to take over that task so the other volunteer could grab a well-deserved nap. Oh, while she was at it, she picked up more order forms for supply requests and took them back to the headquarters.

On Thurs. she could stand down. The worst was over. After work she could go home, enjoy some family time, decompress. During the week, her house was a gathering spot for family and friends who lost power, needed comfort and company, even if she wasn’t there because her husband and family were. Which brought up the subject of how do you do it? You can do it she said because “you’ve prepared yourself and have a plan.” Your family knows what to do, where to meet, in case they have to evacuate too. That way “you don’t bring your worries and aren’t focused on your needs but on the needs of those you’re there to help.” Now the anxiety shifts from what needs to be done for others to how she’s going to get the house cleaned and ready for a Sun. social event. Or in other words – back to normal. 

Her duties included registering evacuees and assessing their needs as they came to the shelter. Making sure they had a comfort kit. Providing information about the facilities, mealtimes, sharing fire updates, helping to do intake for other event-based volunteers. For example, one young 20-year-old wanted to help. Event based volunteers are often limited in assignments because they haven’t been vetted, their skills are unknown, no background check completed. So, it can be a challenge matching their eagerness to a meaningful contribution. In this case, the young man was asked to go around the shelter, collect the partially consume plastic bottles of water and properly dispose of them. Doing so was about safety and hygiene as well as cleanliness. He was later seen with a broom in hand sweeping the floor, happily contributing to the effort to make this shelter safe and comfortable for the evacuees.

The shift was officially over at 7 p.m. but there was always more to do. So, she actually didn’t depart until almost two hours later. If she didn’t have to work the next day, it’s likely it would have been even later.  She lives in a section of Rohnert Park that had power, so she was able to go home, take a shower and get some sleep. On Mon., she went to the office which was still open but operating with short staff as other employees had been evacuated over the weekend. She was able to leave work a couple of hours early and go back on duty. This time she was at the headquarters which had been relocated once more and was now located at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Petaluma, Ca. on Webster St. 

For this shift she was working on logistics to include the movement and ordering of supplies. She was also ensuring registration of contracts for rental vehicles and delegating their use once volunteers checked into the headquarters after flying in from other cities and states. Also, for that reason, more staff shelter space was needed.  Off she went, headed north to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Country Club Dr. in Rohnert Park.  She stopped along the way at the FoodMax in Rohnert Park to pick-up snacks such as apples and yogurt, milk and pastries, coffee and fixings. This way the staff could have something to eat and drink before going on shift; or when coming off shift. She also reached out the president of the Church’s Relief Society with a request to help organize volunteers for food services at the church for the following morning. Then home, shower and sleep.

Tuesday, was another short day at work; then back to continue supporting the shelters and volunteers. Rinse and repeat. It’s all a blur. What did she do on this day or that day? Fragments come and go. “Yes, on this day we did, no wait – that was the day before”. “Thurs. was Halloween, so on Wed. I know I relieved another volunteer who had been going almost 24 hours already”.  She said her co-worker was going to drive candy for the kids to enjoy at the shelters in Santa Rosa and Petaluma. She volunteered to take over that task so the other volunteer could grab a well-deserved nap. Oh, while she was at it, she picked up more order forms for supply requests and took them back to the headquarters.

On Thurs. she could stand down. The worst was over. After work she could go home, enjoy some family time, decompress. During the week, her house was a gathering spot for family and friends who lost power, needed comfort and company, even if she wasn’t there because her husband and family were. Which brought up the subject of how do you do it? You can do it she said because “you’ve prepared yourself and have a plan.” Your family knows what to do, where to meet, in case they have to evacuate too. That way “you don’t bring your worries and aren’t focused on your needs but on the needs of those you’re there to help”. Now the anxiety shifts from what needs to be done for others to how she’s going to get the house cleaned and ready for a Sun. social event. Or in other words – back to normal.